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The Sudden Appearance of Cavities

The Tooth Sleuth…

 

20170123_122329Why does tooth decay suddenly begin in patients who have had no history of multiple cavities?

This is actually a common question that is not generally an age-specific misfortune as much as it tends to be a lifestyle occurrence. It is understandable why someone becomes frustrated and very concerned about the sudden appearance of tooth decay when they have had great teeth their whole lives with little or no decay.

Cavities can occur at any age and without warning. Some factors we can control, while others are a more complicated set of circumstances. The sudden appearance of cavities depends on someone’s individual situation, so it often becomes a fact-finding mission for both the dentist and the patient.

 

You may not think of dentists as detectives, but it is one of the many roles we assume as healthcare practitioners

 

Narrowing down the cause can be tricky, but here are a few of the most common culprits:

 

Cavities under fillings – Like anything that is man-made and designed to replace something that is natural, there are limitations. Fillings can wear down, chip or lose their marginal seal with the tooth allowing bacterial acids to seep in and cause cavities under fillings. Maintaining regular dental check-ups allow us to monitor the integrity and health of teeth and their existing restorations.

Orthodontic treatment – Wearing braces, especially the new Invisalign type of braces, give food and plaque more places to hide making it more difficult to see and remove them. Your food choices and attention to the detail when tooth brushing becomes very important to reduce your likelihood for tooth decay. Your orthodontist will warn you of the higher susceptibility for cavities when wearing braces and make recommendation that should be followed diligently.

Dietary change – A sudden change in what and how often you eat and drink can have a huge impact on the health of your teeth, Ideally, you should allow 4-5 hours in between food intake so that your saliva can repair (remineralize) the damage from the acid attacks that occur during meals. If you have acquired a new habit such as frequent snacking, sipping coffee all day, chewing sugar gums/candies, drinking more pop/juices/alcohol, or using throat lozenges you may be putting your teeth at risk for more tooth decay.

Nutritional Deficiencies – The quantity and quality of our saliva is impacted greatly by nutrition. The immunoglobulin, proteins and minerals in saliva help to protect and repair our teeth, so any deficiencies in our food intake or health can and will affect the efficiency of saliva.

Dry Mouth – Saliva plays an important reparative, cleansing, buffering and digestive role in our mouth. A disruption in the quantity and quality of saliva  can put you at risk for more cavities. Illness, medications, medical treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation, stress, weather, alcohol-based mouth rinses, and even the addition of exercise can affect the character of your saliva and it’s ability to do it’s job efficiently. Never ignore dry mouth. Read all about dry mouth here.

Medication – Did you know that there are hundreds of medications that can affect the quality and quantity of your saliva and impact the health of your teeth? Even over-the-counter products such as anti acids, antihistamines, and cough syrups can be harmful to your teeth with prolonged use. Check with your pharmacist about your medications to help narrow down the ones that can cause dry mouth. Perhaps, they can then suggest an alternative and check with your physician about a change in prescription.

Vomiting – When stomach acids make frequent contact with your teeth it can lead to the eroding away of the enamel eventually resulting in a mouth full of cavities. Frequent acid refluxing, prolonged illnesses and eating disorders that use the elimination of meals just eaten, are serious matters that cause nutritional deficiencies and cause an increase in cavities.

Teeth Whitening – We believe that the frequent use of teeth whitening products can eventually cause the wearing away of protective enamel. Moderation is key here and your dentist will advise you as to what is considered a safe, but effective whitening regime for your specific-to-you situation.

Oral Hygiene – Have you changed your oral care routine? Changing toothbrushes, eliminating fluoride, slacking off with brushing and flossing, brushing too hard or excessively and even choosing a natural oral care product can all lead to more cavities. We had one patient who switched to an electric toothbrush but did not know that they were missing the entire gum line area resulting in cavities all along this area. And, as popular as some homemade and natural remedies are, care must be taken to choose a product that is both effective and gentle on teeth and gums.

Fluoride Intake – Fluoride is actually an element that is found in rocks, soil, fresh water and ocean water. Over 70 years ago, it was discovered that populations living and ingesting naturally occurring fluoride had significantly better teeth – in both health and appearance – than those who did not. Many municipalities decided to add 1 part/million fluoride to community drinking water. Today, we still see the evidence of better oral health in fluoridated areas.

Relocation – Sometimes, just moving from one geographical location to another can lead to significant lifestyle changes in terms of habits and access to health and healthy choices. Students who move away from home may find it difficult to maintain healthy habits and make wise nutritional choices. People who move to an underdeveloped area may struggle accessing good nutrition and healthcare. Even a lack of fluoridated water has been shown to impact oral health.

Receding Gums – When your gums recede, the soft root of the tooth is exposed, making it more susceptible to decay and the scrubbing action of your toothbrush. The tissue covering the root is half the hardness of protective enamel. Root exposure and the eventual cavities and abrasion crevices cavities is a common dental problem, especially in older persons and those who use a hard toothbrush or brush to harshly and in in those.

Medical treatments – As unavoidable as they are, some medical treatments affect your oral health and result in unexpected tooth decay. Medical treatments can cause altered taste, saliva changes, mouth irritations, damaged tissues, sensitivity, vomiting, difficulty eating and swallowing, delayed dental treatment, and can disrupt home oral hygiene. All can play a role in an increased likelihood of cavities. At Your Smile Dental Care, we suggest a pre-treatment examination to record baseline charting, identify and treat dental problems and provide oral hygiene education before your medical treatment begins.

Sharing Salvia – Dental disease is an infectious disease. You can be contaminated with the saliva from another person through kissing, sharing a toothbrush or eating utensil. Is cross-contamination capable of actually causing tooth decay ? Saliva is laced with germs and some people have more of the tooth damaging bacteria than others. It is thought that mother’s can pass on bacteria to their children and, in turn, increase the likelihood of decay in the child when they share spoons, so it stands to reason that this is not the only situation where one’s mouth germs can directly affect the quantity and types of germs in another’s mouth. Sometimes, sharing is not caring!

Work Routine – Even something as seemingly insignificant as a change in your work time hours, such as switching from days to nightshift, can affect the way you prioritize and approach your oral care and eating habits. Exhaustion, insomnia, stress, a hurried life can all impact your usual routine and put you at risk for additional tooth decay. Scour the internet to find some great practical tips on how to manage work shifts better.

Don’t make cavities part of your future…

These are all examples of some of the changes that can occur in your life that you may want to consider and review if you notice that you are suddenly being diagnosed with more cavities, more often than usual. A solid review of your nutritional, dental and medical history may reveal something that could account for the high incident of tooth decay. Hopefully, by process of elimination, you and your dentist will be able to narrow in on one or a few of your risk factors and implement some changes in your life now so that tooth decay will not become a recurrent problem.

 

 

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Yours In Better Dental Health,
The Your Smile Dental Care Team
(905) 576-4537
(416) 783-3533
www.yoursmiledentalcare.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

22-08-2016 10-49-39 AM


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Back to School Dental Care

Making a list and checking it twice?

22-08-2016 4-19-56 PMThis is the time of year that we begin turning our attention away from the lazy hazy days of summer and back towards the upcoming new school year. Getting back into routine in terms of sleeping, eating and grooming is the perfect time to remind your children about the importance of oral care.

And although a dental check-up may be the last thing on your mind as you go through your child’s back-to-school checklist, you may want to reconsider. We now know that dental problems, including cavities, leads to more absences from school which can result in poorer academic performances.

Many parents do not realize that dental decay spreads through baby (primary) teeth much more quickly than in permanent teeth. Early detection can help prevent small issues from growing into much larger and more painful problems.

 

Prevention Tips:

Implementing just a few changes in the way we approach our children’s oral health can go a long way in preventing cavities.

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  1. Frequency – This is the #1 most important cavity prevention tip. Teeth need 4 to 5 hours to heal after an acid attack caused by eating/drinking. Mineral rich salvia is our body’s natural defence against cavities, but you have to allow it the time it needs to remineralize affected enamel.
  2. Diet – Any food that has natural or added sugars and starches in it can be used by bacteria in the mouth that then excrete damaging acid onto tooth surfaces. Highly acidic foods will also eat away at enamel. Decreasing the amount of sugars in your child’s diet, choosing water as their preferred beverage, eliminate snacking and choosing foods that help buffer against the acidic nature of other foods all go a long away in helping to prevent cavities.
  3. Xylitol gum – Chewing gum in school is probably still a no-no, but perhaps you can speak with your child’s teacher and explain the benefits of xylitol. It is found in some sugarless gums and is effective in controlling the amount of acidity in the mouth. This, in turn, helps to reduce the bacterial population and their damaging activity.
  4. Cheese – Pack some cubes of cheese in your child’s lunch and encourage them to eat if before and after their meals. Cheeses not only coats and protects enamel during meals and helps to balance the ph-levels in the mouth during acid attacks, but also contains minerals and casein which have anti-cavity properties.
  5. Water – Water is the preferred beverage of choice for a healthy mouth. Encouraging your child to also rinse with water following a meal when they cannot brush will help dilute acids in the mouth and wash away food debris.

 

Other Tips to Consider:

  • 22-08-2016 4-03-23 PMNo Snacking – The health of the oral cavity depends on the spacing out of meals. Hunger is the body’s way of letting us know that it’s time to eat, but snack time during school is now deeply entrenched in our school system. Educating yourself about the correlation between meal frequency and tooth decay will help you begin an open and honest conversation with your school’s administrator about the harmful effects of recess snacks not only on teeth but on classroom behaviour also. Good Luck!
  • School Insurance – We have seen many dental emergencies over our 30+ years in the dental business. Many of these accidents occur at school. We have a number of patients that benefitted from having had enrolled in the school insurance program that is offered. One patient, in particular, is still having ongoing dental treatment 20 years after the initial injury to his tooth. His parents certainly did not expect to ever have to use the policy, but are now glad that they enrolled in the program. The long-term prognosis for this particular tooth suggests that this patient will have ongoing maintenance costs for the rest of his life.
  • Sports guard – We can never emphasise enough the importance of protecting teeth during sports and playful activity. Again, we see many accidents caused during activity and the school ground is the most popular place for injury. No child probably wants to be the only students wearing a sports guard, but we do encourage it’s use.
  • Oral Hygiene at School – You may want to consider buying a travel-sized toothbrush and toothpaste for your child to use at school. Perhaps you can approach like-minded parents with children in the same classroom about this idea to help make this in-school routine more appealing to your child.
  • Plan Ahead – Life is busy we know, but setting sufficient time aside to plan healthy meals will help you avoid scrambling during the precious minutes in the morning to pack your child’s lunch.

 

Attending Post Secondary School?

Even young adults beginning their post-secondary studies should take the time now to see their dentist before school begins, especially if they are still on their parent’s dental benefits. With so many new changes happening during this exciting new academic experience, the stresses can build up.

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During exam time we get an increased number of emergency calls to our office from students complaining of pain, not only throughout the oral cavity, but also around the jaws, ears, head and neck. Oftentimes, it is due to the increased forces of grinding and clenching (a side effect of stress), while other times it is due to the swelling associated with the emerging wisdom teeth.

Another common problem is a sudden increase in the rate of decay amongst young adults in post-secondary school with no past history of serial cavities. Most times we can attribute this to a change in diet, especially the frequency at which snacks and beverages such of coffee/tea/sodas are consumed. Our recommendation is to always be vigilant when it comes to oral hygiene care and the numbers of meals/snacks/beverages eaten throughout the day. Give you teeth the healing time it needs!

A thorough check up before going away to school will help to take care of any dental issues that may arise during the school year.

Lastly, if you are thinking about having a check-up when you come home during winter break, it is important to reserve your check-up appointment well in advance as many students are thinking the same thing you are!


If it’s been a while since your children have had their teeth checked and cleaned, give us a call today.  We’ll make sure your child’s teeth are looking sharp and ready for school!

 

25-02-2016 11-26-10 AM

 

 

Yours in Better Dental Health,
The Your Smile Dental Care Team
(905) 576-4537
(416) 783-3533
www.yoursmiledentalcare.com

 

 

27-06-2016 12-14-49 PM


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Does pain go away after a root canal?

The Nerve of this Tooth!!!

Most people know that root canal treatment involves treating the “nerve” centre of the tooth, so it is understandable when patients are surprised to feel post treatment sensations after a root canal.

They are also surprised,  however, to learn that, although root canal treatment (endodontics) is time-consuming, it is no where near the horror stories they have heard. In fact, so routine and uneventful are most procedures that some of our patients have actually fallen sleep. The confusion, we believe, comes from the excruciating pain that some people experience before seeking the relieving treatment provided by a dentist. Perhaps, it’s what stands out most in their mind.

A root canal is a procedure that involves treatment to the inside, pulpal area of a tooth. Although we tend to think of our teeth as hard, rigid structures, the inside is fleshy and is made up of nerves, lymphatic tissue and blood supply that enter into the tooth through a hole at the end of each tooth. Usually this fleshy “pulpal tissue” needs to be removed once it becomes infected or tooth decay is deep enough to reach this area of the tooth.

Recovery

Even though the nerves of the tooth that allowed you to feel hot and cold sensations have been removed, there are other tissues and ligaments that are typically damaged by the presence of infection. These tissues need healing time and tenderness is not uncommon after treatment. How sensitive your tooth will be after root canal treatment depends on how severe the damage to the pulp and how involved the treatment was. The aim during the procedure is to remove all of the infected tissue and bacteria from within the chamber and root portion of the tooth, clean and disinfect the inside of the canals, then seal the end of each root.

“I can’t believe I was going to have the tooth removed!”

08-06-2015 9-24-20 AMMost people who have been experiencing a lot of discomfort prior to treatment find much needed relief after the root canal has been completed, but like the cleaning out of any wound, it typically takes a few days for a tooth to “settle down” and recover.  During this time, residual infection outside the tooth is clearing up and affected ligaments are healing. Your dentist will usually recommend that you take a pain reliever that is also an anti-inflammatory to help reduce any pain and swelling.

Sometimes, depending on how severe the infection was, it can take a few weeks for infection to clear up. The blood vessels in the jaws are tiny and do their best to take away infection and bacteria. You can discuss the need for antibiotics with your dentist to help things along.

However, If the pain you are experiencing is like a toothache and happens only when you are biting down then it is likely that your bite is high. A simple and quick bite adjustment usually brings immediate relief to this type of sensitivity.

Typically, any pain or discomfort that is felt after a successful root canal should be mild to moderate and get progressively better as healing continues. If, however, you are still experiencing discomfort after a few weeks or the pain is increasing in intensity, contact your dentist and set up an appointment for a re-evaluation.

 

Complications that can arise:

If your root canal treatment was successful, your tooth should recover within a week to ten days. However, the tooth, like any other part of the body, can have residual issues and post treatment complications can arise after the root canal has been completed. A tooth with complicated anatomy can be a challenge for example.

If your tooth becomes re-infected, your dentist may suggest that the tooth be re-treated. There are a number of treatment options to retreat a root-canal to still save your tooth from extraction. Your dentist will re-evaluate your tooth and discuss the “specific to you” circumstances with you.

Although it is understandable that a patient may be disappointed and even dubious when treatment has failed, it is important to remember that just like other medical procedures, there is a certain percentage of cases that require additional therapy. A patient, in consultation with their dentist, will discuss the long term success of further treatment and consider all pertinent factors before deciding the lengths that each are willing to go in order to save a tooth.

Nobody wants to lose a tooth. A root canal helps to preserve your tooth in the jaw and allows it to function, but without sensation from within the tooth. Always keep you dentist informed of anything that you may consider to be unusual during your healing period.

anxious

Yours in Better Dental Health,

The Your Smile Dental Care team
(905) 576-4537
(416) 783-3533
www.yoursmiledentalcare.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Why are we interested in your spit?

17-11-2014 3-23-49 PMYour medical information provides us with valuable information that may help us understand the conditions in your mouth. A review of your medical history can reveal that some of your medications, illnesses and therapies are affecting your saliva, which in turn, can have an impact on your dental health. We need a certain amount and consistency of saliva to keep our mouth and teeth healthy.

Saliva, commonly known as spit, is an amazing component of our body. It is designed to be so effective in bathing and protecting our teeth and maintaining a healthy pH-level in our mouth that, along with crunchy, natural cleansing foods, early humans experienced very little decay. But, our eating habits have changed drastically and the environment of our mouth and the amount of bad bacteria, in addition to the effects of medications, illnesses or therapies, hinders the effectiveness of our saliva’s medicinal properties.


Why is Spit so Important?

On average, a healthy person produces about a litre of saliva a day. Saliva production increases during eating, however, at night our saliva production halts which is why it is important to remember to brush and floss before you go to sleep! Saliva is 99% water and 1% electrolytes, mucus, glycoproteins, enzymes, and some antibacterial compounds. Disruptions in the quality or quantity of saliva has a significant impact on the environment of our mouth. Only when we see the destructive nature of a dry mouth can we truly appreciate how important saliva is.

Saliva is key in:

– washing foods and debris away from teeth and

– helping to dilute and eliminate sugars left in your mouth after swallowing

– restoring the acidity of the mouth to a healthier, neutral pH-level

– helping to prevent the breakdown of the hard parts of the teeth

– creating the suction between dentures and the gums.

– replacing minerals that have “leeched out” of the teeth during the acid attack process.

– aids the digestion process by breaking down starches and fats we eat

– lubricating our foods making it easier to swallow

– keeping mouth tissues moist

– normal sense of taste

– helping us speak

Dry Mouth

When we produce less saliva or the consistency of our saliva is thick it can leave our mouth dryer than normal.  A dry mouth has a huge impact on our dental health resulting in:

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To learn more about dry mouth read our article here.

If you are suffering from persistent dry mouth, there are solutions. Oral rinses can supplement the moisture in your mouth and sugarless gums or candies can help stimulate the production of saliva in your mouth.


Saliva and Tartar Formation

23-03-2015 11-32-01 AMEver wonder how you get that hard gunk on your teeth that only your dental team can remove? That is bacterial rich plaque that you did not remove while brushing or flossing your teeth and has now hardened onto your teeth. It is mushy and sticky at first, but then minerals from our salvia start to mix with this soft plaque and it begins to become so hard that we have to use specialized instruments to scrape (scale) it off.

We call this material calculus and it can be found above and below your gum line and in between your teeth. There tends to be a higher concentration of calculus on the cheek side of upper molars and behind the lower front teeth as these areas are directly next to where our saliva ducts secrete salvia into the mouth.

Plaque can also accumulate and harden on dentures or other dental appliances that are not removed and cleaned often enough. This calculus is very destructive to teeth and gums.

Tartar and Tooth Sensitivity

For some people, who have allowed this material to build up and remain on their teeth for a very long time, having it removed can result in increased tooth sensitivity to cold and hot temperatures. This is because the calculus destroyed the gum tissue that would normally cover the tooth’s root surface. The root is not as highly mineralized (hard) as our tooth enamel and is therefore more sensitive to changes in temperatures and acidic foods.

Saliva and Cavities

The cavity process begins when bacteria “eat” and ferment the sugar we provide them creating acids. It is a complex process that is affected by many factors, but simply put, this acid attacks our teeth and can dissolve some of the important minerals that make up the hard parts of our teeth. The saliva starts the repair process by hardening the affected areas of the teeth by depositing minerals. This demineralization (acid attack) and remineralization (repair) happens every time we consume sugars and acids in our diet. It can become a constant battle throughout the day if you eat frequently.

Saliva and our Diet

A healthy mouth has a pH of between 6.75 and 7.25 and the key is trying to maintain this level in order to keep disease at bay. When the pH-level becomes more acidic the harmful bacteria begin to multiply and dominate. One thing you can do to help maintain a neutral pH-level in the mouth and a healthy level of beneficial bacteria is to adopt a diet that is low in simple carbohydrates or sugars and to reduce the amount of meals you eat during the day.  We cannot emphasize this enough.

The Dangers of Snacking

8-13-2015 3-20-42 PMIt is important to remember, however, that this repair process can take up to 4-5 hours and should not be interrupted by eating more sugars or acidic foods. This is an essential consideration and should not be left out of the healthy foods conversation, especially when you are trying to reduce cavities for yourself and your children.

Demineralization and Toothbrushing

It is not recommended that your brush your teeth immediately after an acid attack. The hard surfaces of the teeth that have been softened by acids are vulnerable to the scrubbing action of your toothbrush bristles. You will cause less additional wear to your teeth if you wait at least 30 minutes after eating or drinking.

The Miracle of Saliva

We constantly get bombarded by information about making healthy choices and changing our lifestyles in order to obtain and maintain our well-being. What if we told you that by focusing on the health of your mouth you can make significant inroads towards a healthier you?

19-10-2015 8-33-19 PMFor years the world of dentistry has been telling patients that if they brushed and flossed and visited the dentist regularly they’d have healthy mouths that were free of disease. But over the years, we’ve seen that, sometimes, this isn’t enough. We see cavities in patients who care for their teeth and gums as instructed, while others with mouths full of plaque and irregular care have little to no cavities and even no alarming degree of gingivitis. The old adage that, “You are what you eat” is an essential part of the equation, but so is, “When you eat.”

We are still learning about the miracle of saliva and are gaining new insights into the complex relationship of all the different types of bacteria in the mouth. While many people find saliva and it’s accumulation in the mouth to be revolting, our Your Smile Dental Care team truly appreciate it’s unique medicinal and diagnostic properties … and that’s nothing to spit at!

Yours in Better Dental Health,

The Your Smile Dental Care team
(905) 576-4537
(416) 783-3533
www.yoursmiledentalcare.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

08-06-2015 11-16-26 AM


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Genetics and Soft Teeth

 

01-06-2015 10-53-45 AMIt happens all the time! The one child in a family who is dental, health and food conscious is the one who gets all the cavities whereas the sibling who never brushes their teeth and snacks all the time is the child who gets to enter their name into the “Cavity Free” Club.

Even people with similar oral hygiene behaviours may have completely different rates of developing tooth decay.

So, is there really such a thing as soft teeth? Can being cavity-prone be inherited or are you just unlucky?

While it is true that your dental health depends on a combination of good oral hygiene and genetics, how much of a role does heredity and luck really play?

When a patient comes to see us with a history of tooth decay and missing teeth we begin by collecting some family history to determine if there are any possible contributors to their poor dental health. There are quite a few dental abnormalities that can be caused by defective genes, but these conditions are rare. And while genes do play a role in food preferences, type of saliva, ph-level of the mouth and how susceptible a person may be to tooth decay, true genetic abnormalities that affect teeth are rare and seldom seen.

Is there really a genetic disorder that causes soft teeth?
Can soft teeth be inherited?

Over the years, we have had many patients claim that the poor condition of their teeth was caused by the soft teeth they inherited from a parent or grandparent. While there truly is a genetic condition that can result in imperfectly formed teeth, it is a rare condition and is seldom seen. It’s characteristics are easily distinguishable from the type of soft teeth that are caused from our choices.

01-06-2015 11-24-23 AMThe truth is, sometimes it’s easier to blame genetics either because it saves us from the shame we feel or it saves us from being held accountable for our health conditions. But, we know that when patients tell us that they have soft teeth, they truly believe it.

While we never rule out the possibility of soft teeth, if, after examination, we find that their teeth are perfectly normal, we then have to find what is causing their poor teeth.

If not inherited, then what can cause teeth to soften?

Enamel is the hardest substance in the body – twice the hardness of bone, however, there are all kinds of damaging substances and actions that are capable of weakening it over time. It’s easy to understand this process if you think of how running water is capable of smoothing rough rock over time.

Things like….

Acid Reflux/Bulimia – The acids in our stomach are very strong and corrosive making them capable of softening enamel. Frequent exposure to these acids can and will cause the enamel to breakdown. Over time, the weakened areas will start to take on a whitish, chalky look and eventually get larger and darken over time as they progress into cavities.

Enamel Fluorosis – Teeth can erupt with weakened, less mineralized areas as a result of ingesting excess fluoride during development. This can happen from swallowing too much fluoridated toothpaste, eating foods with high fluoride content, taking fluoride supplements or drinking well water that has a high fluoride level (greater than 1 part per million). This  example of soft teeth will quickly be identified by the dentist when the teeth first erupt because of it’s distinctive colouration. If severe enough, fillings can replace these weakened areas on the tooth, otherwise home care instructions are given and the tooth is monitored over it’s lifetime. Ironically, once the tooth is fully developed it is no longer susceptible to fluorosis and future fluoride treatment will actually help to harden these areas.

Bacteria – There are certain germs in the human mouth that produce an acid that has a corrosive affect on teeth. The goal is to reduce the amount of sugar these bacteria can consume through your sugary diet and by exercising good oral hygiene through brushing, flossing and using anti-bacterial mouth rinse.

Childhood Fever – A child’s fever can reach such a degree that it can interfere with the cells that mineralize the enamel causing hypomineralization (areas where less minerals were deposited into the enamel). This occurs, most commonly, with the first adult molars and front teeth. This can occur in vitro during the last trimester of pregnancy and the first four years of life and it is likely that other factors such as oxygen starvation combined with a low birth weight, respiratory problems, calcium and phosphate metabolic disorders may also be involved.

Food/Drink Acids – The frequent consumption of highly acidic foods and drinks can have an eroding affect on your teeth and weaken them over time. Be especially aware of the damage that highly acidic sport drinks, sodas and juices can do to your teeth. Your child’s teeth can be at risk for softening if they make frequent use of a bottle or sippy cup containing anything other than water.

08-06-2015 9-08-53 AMNutrition – With nutrition it’s all about moderation. If you are constantly eating foods that are high in sugar and/or acids then your teeth are frequently exposed to the damaging effects. Eating three, well-balanced meals is a start. Switching to a diet that includes more fruits and vegetables, water as your choice of beverage, limiting your sugar intake and eliminating snacking between meals will benefit you both your teeth and body. Recent studies have shown that eating cheese after your meal has an anti-cavity affect by increasing saliva production and lowering the mouth’s ph to a level that bacteria are less active in. Eating the cheese before a meal may help by coating the teeth making bacterial penetration and adhesion more difficult.

Oral Hygiene – Not brushing and flossing your teeth allow bacterial plaque to accumulate and deposit acid onto the teeth enamel. Because your saliva production decreases during sleep, it is very important that you brush and floss your teeth before bedtime so that your bacteria will have nothing to snack on while you sleep.

Brushing Habits – Brushing your teeth with too much force or using a hard-bristled toothbrush can wear down enamel and the other tissues of the teeth over time. Small crevices will start to form in the surface of teeth into which food and bacterial plaque can accumulate. Just be careful on how hard you are scrubbing while you are brushing and be sure to always use a soft or super soft toothbrush only. If you use an electric toothbrush you only need to guide the brush while it preforms it’s own cleansing actions. In fact, some of the newer types of electric toothbrushes are designed to stop if you apply too much pressure. Your dental hygienist is trained to check for any signs of toothbrush abrasion, but you can ask them to check just to be sure at your next dental check-up appointment. See our Your Smile Dental Care Instructions

08-06-2015 9-24-20 AMMedications – Not only can our mouth become drier as we age, but there are also many types of medications that can cause your mouth to become drier than normal. Without salvia to naturally clean bacteria and food debris away from your tooth surface, the enamel will be susceptible to the cavity process and begin to weaken. Also, because your mouth becomes acidic when eating, try to avoid food at least one hour before bed to give your saliva time to neutralize these acids.

Radiation/Chemotherapy  – The salivary glands can become damaged during radiation and chemotherapy treatment. As a result, your saliva flow can decrease and become thicker making it’s cleaning action less effective. Improvement in the quality of saliva may return within a few months or may there may be long-term impairment.

Immune Diseases – Your salivary glands can be attacked by some auto-immune diseases causing the quality and quantity of saliva to be compromised.

Cross contamination – Believe it or not, cavity-causing bacteria can be passed from person to person by way of saliva exchange. This can happen through kissing, sharing food utensils/cups/food, sneezing and sharing toothbrushes. Mother’s must be especially careful not to pass these germs on to their children.

Just because your parents and grandparents had “bad teeth”
doesn’t mean that you have to.

01-06-2015 11-12-48 AMTooth decay is the most common chronic disease in the world, but is also one of the most preventable. Do “soft teeth” run in your family? Not likely, unless there is a true genetic disorder present. The number of people with true “soft teeth” is very low. It’s easy to blame genes for poor dental health, but we encourage our patients to take an honest look at their diet and oral care. If there is room for improvement then together we can find the solutions you need to move forward to help you keep your teeth for a lifetime.

Do you get a lot of cavities? Do you suspect that maybe your teeth have become weak over the years?

If you feel that you are getting your fair share of cavities speak to your dentist or hygienist about your concerns.  At Your Smile Dental Care, we believe that healthcare should be a partnership between patient and doctors – a trusting relationship where we work together to find solutions. Having a better understanding of your dental health will help you stay informed so you can make healthy choices and better decisions regarding your dental treatment.

Your Smile is our top priority!
Dr. Sam Axelrod & Associates

23-03-2014 10-21-20 11AM

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Coffee Decay

Your task buddy. Your sidekick.

The faithful companion that keeps you alert and company as you write that research paper, prepare your taxes or hop from arena to arena, class to class. It helps wake you up, keep you up, and accompanies you everyday, everywhere.

2-23-2015 1-13-32 PMYou may even have a pet name for it like Joe or Juan or Brewster. Love it or hate it we all know of that someone who cannot function without their beloved cup of magic beans – COFFEE!

But, is it really the faithful, take along friend you’ve come to rely on anyplace, anytime or is it robbing you of one of your most precious and attractive facial features? Your teeth!

After decades of declining numbers, it appears that the incidence of decay is on the rise again. We’re not talking 1-2 cavities either. We’re seeing six to 10 cavities, or more in patients who have never really had a history of dental decay.

Various studies point to a variety of factors that are causing this upswing in decay such as meal frequencies and the amount of low nutrient, highly processed foods that are available to us. If you feel that you are getting more than your fair share of cavities, despite a good oral hygiene routine, you may want to rethink the way you consume your favourite comfort fuel.

23-02-2015 9-32-48 AMLiquid Comfort

We’re Canadians and we love our Timmys or McDs or Starbucks. And for a new generation of consumers, it is the energy drinks that are providing the extra octane needed. While 2 or 3 cups of java a day, and a caramel latte here and there may not seem harmful enough to cause any great health concern it’s more a matter of HOW we drink our coffee.

When you sip, sip sip, every last drip, drip drip All…Day…Long, you set the perfect stage for cavities to occur. Constantly feeding the germs in your mouth sugar, milk and cream is like “Baby bottle decay“, but in adults.

We’ve blogged before about how the cavity process works. We cannot emphasize enough the importance of allowing time in between your meals/drinks to allow your saliva to heal the damage of an acid attack. This includes excessive coffee consumption. For an increasingly health-conscious population, that message is still not getting out.

The Natural Way…

Acid attacks and remineralization can live in harmony and dental disease prevented if the body’s natural defences are kept in balance. The old saying, “Everything in moderation” is true when it comes to our consumption of foods/drinking containing sugar.

ClockThe cycle of damage and repair that occurs with our teeth is a natural process that happens all throughout the day. The goal is to minimize the degree of destruction and keep this system in balance by allowing the salvia the necessary time to remineralize damaged enamel so that decay does not get the upper hand.

One of the most important ways to accomplish this is to keep your meals/drinks spaced out at regular 4-5 hour intervals. For some this may seem impossible and perhaps even an unhealthy manner of eating. We have to remember, however, that hunger is a natural process and is our internal clocks way of  telling us, “It’s time to eat.”

In fact, rarely do our children go more than 180 minutes without eating! Some parents tell us that their children literally never stop eating … it’s one snack after another from the time they open their eyes until the time they go to bed. It’s only when we explain that how often food is eaten is just as important as what is eaten that they begin to understand why their children are getting so many cavities despite diligent tooth brushing habits.

Here’s a typical child’s weekday:

Breakfast – Recess snack – Lunch – Recess snack – After school snack – Dinner – Bedtime snack

Day's Meal
That’s 7 meals and possibly 7 acid attacks/day! If there is the additional consumption of drinks other than water then there’s more damage being done than you realize – despite all your good efforts to help your children keep their teeth brushed and flossed.

Even if you are keeping your meals spaced out, but are sipping beverages throughout the day, you are interfering with your body’s ability to keep your teeth cavity-free.

Other Factors

“We are what we eat”

Making sure that you are getting all the vitamins and minerals you need to create healthy, decay-fighting saliva is also an important component of this process. Your body’s ability to repair your teeth is dependent on your current health and nutrition status.

Your Smile - CopyAt Your Smile Dental Care, we know that you like your teeth and we presume that you probably want to keep them. We also understand the love affair with coffee and why it an important part of people’s lives. Our job is to help our patients understand the benefits and risks associated with their eating choices and help them make some adjustments in their consumption habits.

If your liquid therapy is an important part of surviving your day try…

1. Water. Keeping a glass of water with you and alternating between coffee and water throughout the day. This will help wash out your mouth and prevent your saliva from becoming too sugary and eating away at your teeth.

2. Using a straw. Consider sipping from a straw to help the liquid bypass your teeth. To keep the sugar out of your saliva you’ll still need to drink water in between sips.

3. Timing your drink. Consider having your beverages during meal times or at least consume your drink within 15 minutes.

4. Brushing. Introduce the idea of brushing your teeth at work or school. Wait 30 minutes after you eat to brush your teeth however, since your teeth may still be in a “softened” state of damage from the acid attack it just received.

5. Stop the Snack Attacks. Reconsider snacking in between meals to allow your body to recover from your last eating episode. Unless you’re diabetic or have another health condition that obliges you to eat more frequently, non-stop grazing should not go on throughout the entire day.

6. Gum. Chewing sugar-free gum after your drink will help stimulate your saliva flow which will in turn help rinse and neutralize the acids in your mouth.

7. Know your limits. The proper size and quality of your meals should keep you satisfied until your next meal. If your body have become accustomed to snacking, it may take a few weeks for your body to adjust, but it will and you may enjoy your meals more. Know your body needs and consume healthy calories according to your activity level and you keep your energy between meals. The athlete in training has a different set of nutritional requirements than the average person does.

Lastly,
2-23-2015 2-07-11 PMLike us, our children look forward to the little  “pick me up” they get at recess. We wonder sometimes if recess snacks aren’t what is “distracting” some kids. Your child will be more likely to eat their dinner if they are not offered too many options for eating too often. A healthy and nutritious breakfast will carry them through until lunch and still keep their brains capable of learning. If a recess snack is necessary consider a food item like cheese that will coat teeth or crisp fruits and vegetables like apples, carrots and celery that stimulate saliva flow and help clean plaque from teeth.

No one is saying that you have to give up your beloved coffee, but if you have been experiencing your fair share of cavities lately, it may be one area of your life that needs further investigation. We’re here to inform and help you in any way we can on your journey to better dental health. Like the rest of your body, your teeth depends on good food choices to stay healthy.

If you would like additional information on snacking, please visit the Ontario Dental Association for more Nutrition Sites.

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Yours in Better Dental Health,
The Your Smile Dental Care Team
(905) 576-4537
(416) 783-3533

 


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Do baby teeth need fillings?

Cavities in Baby Teeth

Why does my child’s baby teeth need to be filled when they are just going to fall out anyways?

This is a very legitimate question considering that, yes, baby teeth will eventually be replaced by some of the permanent teeth. It is understandable why some parents feel that it is unnecessary to “fix” them.

Baby teeth are there for a reason. We call these first set of teeth “primary teeth” and they are important for eating, formation of speech and for saving the space that will eventually be occupied by the permanent teeth.

The treatment options for repairing primary teeth depends largely upon when we expect the arrival of the permanent tooth. If you take a look at the chart below, there can be quite a few years before the permanent teeth emerge into the mouth. Primary teeth are smaller than permanent teeth. A cavity will get bigger, deeper and cause pain and eventually infection long before it will be replaced by it’s permanent successor.

Can’t you just pull the tooth?

Yes, we can when we are left with no alternative. If it becomes necessary to remove a tooth before it’s time we have to consider that the adjacent teeth will start to move into this new, vacant space. This smaller space makes it difficult for the permanent tooth to fit in properly.  To prevent this, a dental appliance has to be made and cemented to these adjacent teeth to keep them from infringing upon this valuable space open.

Eruption Chart YSDC

Tooth Decay is Preventable!

In Canada, 57% of children aged 6 – 11 have decayed, missing or filled teeth.  This number increases for adolescents to 59%.  Recent surveys indicate that toothaches are one of the leading causes of school absences and is the most common childhood disease worldwide.

The Difference We Make….

It is difficult for eating, sleeping or learning to take place when a child is in pain. This is why we are big on prevention at Your Smile Dental Care.  Tooth decay is a disease that is wholly preventable.  Ideally, your child’s first dental visit should be around the age of  2 when they have all of their baby teeth present, however, we invite you to learn as much as you can about this preventable disease long before your child’s first teeth arrive. We never discourage parents from bringing their children into our office when they are attending their own appointments. We believe that children who are familiar with our office and staff learn at an early age to develop positive attitudes about dentistry. Being able to enjoy themselves in the playroom while their parent is in treatment and leaving with a treasure from the toy box is an added bonus to their visits.

If this sounds like the kind of dental practice that you would like for your family, give us a call today at (905) 5SMILES or come in for a tour. We will be happy to show you around and answer any questions you may have. For a sneak peek of our office visit our you tube video HERE.

Meanwhile, we urge you to read the articles below to learn how to help your child have a cavity-free childhood.

12-05-2014 12-08-57 PM

How to Pack a Healthy Lunch

12-05-2014 12-07-35 PM